Guardianship refers to the legal authority to care for a minor child or legally incapacitated adult. Natural parents automatically have this legal right over their children. When a natural parent’s passes away, or if his/her parental rights are terminated, an interested party (usually an extended family member) may petition the probate court for guardianship over a minor child. Upon a finding that the petitioner is fit to care for the minor child, the court will issue letters of guardianship. To help the court in the decision-making process, a natural parent may nominate someone who they would like to be guardian of their children in case of their death in a will.
Much the same process to legally incapacitated adults. Before issuing letters for an incapacitated adult, though, the Court will need verification that the adult is in fact incapacitated. Doctor statements are usually required to make this showing.